A recent bus trip and social media post led to a surprise conversation with an education innovator for Parkview Elementary teachers.

A press release from Sedalia 200, says Principal Stephanie Jackson borrowed an idea from her “go-to book,” “#KidsDeserveIt,” and took her staff on a school bus tour on Jan. 3 to see conditions in some of the neighborhoods where Parkview students live.

“When we came back from Christmas break, I wanted to get (teachers) thinking about our students and some of the hardships that they face,” Jackson said. She has become active on Twitter and shared the bus experience in a tweet, tagging the book title and its authors, Adam Welcome and Todd Nesloney. Shortly afterward, Welcome called Parkview to talk with Jackson about the bus trip; he also offered to make a surprise call to her staff on Jan. 5 through Google Hangouts.

Jackson gathered her staff in the school library for a professional development session and then made the call to Welcome, who works as director of innovation at a large school district outside of San Francisco. He encouraged the teachers to consistently ask, “Is what I am doing effective with the kids? … If kids don’t dig it, why are you doing it?”

Borrowing an idea from the book, some Parkview teachers had written positive notes on students’ desks before they returned from break.

“How much did that cost? Nothing,” Welcome said. “I don’t think we can boost kids’ self-esteem enough. We cannot tell them enough how proud we are of them.”

He finished the chat by encouraging the staff to remain committed to their students.

“Never give up on a kid,” he said. “You never know what one thing you do … will turn that kid around.”

Jackson said both the bus tour and the conversation with Welcome had positive impacts on her staff.

“I like him because he is very positive and makes us think about why we do what we do and the impact that we make on kids’ lives every day,” she said. “I have a wonderful staff here and … what they do for students makes them special.”

Sedalia 200